PDA

View Full Version : Steelers hold high expectations for Sweed



fordfixer
06-15-2008, 12:59 PM
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, June 15, 2008
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 72844.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_572844.html)
Buzz up!


Typical of a job given to a teenager at a factory for one of the top-selling brands of ice cream in the country, Limas Sweed did not have much responsibility. Just watch and make sure everything goes, well, smoothly.
One day the monotony of his job at Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas, caused Sweed to lurch forward. He flipped over a railing and fell into a large vat of strawberry ice cream. It's not that he worried about drowning but, geez, talk about a sticky situation.

"I was young, and I guess they really didn't want to hurt my feelings," Sweed said of the incident with a laugh. "They just released me the next couple of days."

A couple of days off to recover?

"I got fired, man."
Sweed's current employer will exercise considerably more patience with him. The Steelers took the sleek wide receiver in the second round of this year's NFL draft. They are hoping the 6-4, 219-pound Sweed can provide the tall target that the team has lacked among its wide receiving corps since Plaxico Burress left as a free agent following the 2004 season.

Sweed, rest assured, won't encounter any boredom on his full-time job. He has spent the past six weeks learning the Steelers' offense and trying to digest things he never saw during a decorated career at the University of Texas, such as linebackers lining up opposite him before dropping back into coverage.

It is too early to tell how much progress the player that teammates call "Real Country" because of his rural upbringing has made or how much he will contribute this season.

He has impressed the Steelers not just with his physical ability but also with a willingness that borders on eagerness to learn.

"He is very humble. He communicates. He is not afraid to ask questions," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "His passion for the game shows through the minute he walks into the building which allows you to indicate that he has a chance to be what we think he is capable of being."

Translation: the Steelers may have found a keeper.

Sweed has a unique blend of size and speed and is a tremendous leaper. Long and lean as a goal post, he is also deceptively strong -- he could bench press more than 300 pounds when he was in high school -- and he almost certainly wouldn't have been available when the Steelers picked in the second round of the draft had a wrist injury not derailed his senior season at Texas.

The one thing that might give Steelers' fans pause about the Texas native: he is a cowboy though not of the Dallas variety.

"If somebody had a horse in here right now, I could definitely jump on there and ride," Sweed said during a recent indoors practice at the Steelers' South Side facility. "I'm a country boy at heart. Fishing, hunting, four-wheeling."

He didn't just learn to do all of that while growing up outside of Brenham, a small town in east Texas. He also learned about discipline.

A couple of hours before a football scrimmage during Sweed's sophomore year of high school, his mother called Brenham coach Glen West and informed him that Sweed would not be playing that day.

The reason: he had gone to a volleyball game without telling his parents.

West tried to explain that Sweed's coaches and teammates were counting on him.

"She said, 'Well, this time he learns coach. We want to teach him now. We want to know where he is at all times and he went to that volleyball game and didn't tell us and so he's not going to play in this game,' " West recalled.

He apparently learned his lesson as coach Mack Brown said he never had any problems with Sweed at Texas. That's not to say the player that ranks among the school's all-time leaders in a handful of receiving categories didn't encounter any adversity while in Austin.

Prior to his senior season, Sweed hurt a ligament in his wrist while making a catch in practice. The nagging injury limited him to six games and 19 catches for 306 yards and three touchdowns.

It may also have caused him to slide into the second round of the draft (he had been projected as a first-round pick). Sweed has not dwelled on what might have been for several reasons, not the least of which is that his wrist has fully healed.

"I'm feeling like I did my junior year in college," said Sweed, who caught 12 touchdown passes as a junior at Texas, "fast and strong, man."

He'll need to be that and more when he and the rest of the Steelers report for training camp in late July.

The learning curve for rookies in the NFL is a steep one. That is particularly true for wide receivers, who must adjust to a faster, more physical game while trying to process copious amounts of information. It can be overwhelming and enough to make even the fastest wideout feel like he is running in, yes, ice cream.

"We've just got to keep him focused," third-year Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes said. "I think his mind wanders a little bit, just being a rookie going through all the motions, having to try to learn the plays at one time. But I think he's going to be all right once he takes a break from it."

How much of a break Sweed takes from football between now and the start of training camp in late July remains to be seen.

There are indications that it won't be much of one.

Consider what West relayed to NFL teams prior to the draft when they called him as part of the background checks they did on Sweed:

"The thing that I would tell every one of them is, 'Now he's going to bug the receivers coach to death. Am I doing everything I need to be doing? How did I do today?' " West said. "That's the kind of kid he is."

Shawn
06-15-2008, 01:31 PM
Sweed=Plax without the attitude, faster, better work ethic, and much better ability to snatch a ball over defenders. He will need time...like 3 years time to fully bloom. Be patient. Don't get me wrong...he will contribute this season. I just hope I don't hear the Libust comments prematurely.

Flasteel
06-15-2008, 02:00 PM
Sweed=Plax without the attitude, faster, better work ethic, and much better ability to snatch a ball over defenders. He will need time...like 3 years time to fully bloom. Be patient. Don't get me wrong...he will contribute this season. I just hope I don't hear the Libust comments prematurely.

Agreed, but I don't know if we'll need to wait three years to see him blossom. Granted the opportunities will be somewhat limited as long as Hines and Holmes are in the starting line-up, but I see Sweed pushing Ward into the slot in three-receiver sets by 2009.

Man, I love it. Two posts about our last two second-round choices that make me absolutely ecstatic about the future of this franchise. What steals!!!

RuthlessBurgher
06-16-2008, 09:08 AM
I think Hagan found a new spokesman for their Steelers Sundae Ice Cream..."so good, I went for a swim in it!" :lol:

http://www.haganicecream.com/images/HaganIceCreamContent_03.jpg

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
06-16-2008, 09:40 AM
You know what got me excited?

Sweed & Washington will be matched up with the defenses 3rd & 4th CB in 4 WR sets! Who can't like that???

RuthlessBurgher
06-16-2008, 10:04 AM
You know what got me excited?

Sweed & Washington will be matched up with the defenses 3rd & 4th CB in 4 WR sets! Who can't like that???

And after trading Leigh Bodden, cutting Kenny Wright, and Daven Holly getting injured, the Browns' 3rd and 4th CB's are no better than you or me! :lol: :brownssuck

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
06-16-2008, 12:10 PM
You know what got me excited?

Sweed & Washington will be matched up with the defenses 3rd & 4th CB in 4 WR sets! Who can't like that???

And after trading Leigh Bodden, cutting Kenny Wright, and Daven Holly getting injured, the Browns' 3rd and 4th CB's are no better than you or me! :lol: :brownssuck

Wow...They do suck! :brownssuck

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
06-16-2008, 12:13 PM
You know what got me excited?

Sweed & Washington will be matched up with the defenses 3rd & 4th CB in 4 WR sets! Who can't like that???

And after trading Leigh Bodden, cutting Kenny Wright, and Daven Holly getting injured, the Browns' 3rd and 4th CB's are no better than you or me! :lol: :brownssuck

You know what would have been really sweet...

If Colclough was still in Cleveland! The ultimate roast!

Shawn
06-16-2008, 12:20 PM
Sweed=Plax without the attitude, faster, better work ethic, and much better ability to snatch a ball over defenders. He will need time...like 3 years time to fully bloom. Be patient. Don't get me wrong...he will contribute this season. I just hope I don't hear the Libust comments prematurely.

Agreed, but I don't know if we'll need to wait three years to see him blossom. Granted the opportunities will be somewhat limited as long as Hines and Holmes are in the starting line-up, but I see Sweed pushing Ward into the slot in three-receiver sets by 2009.

Man, I love it. Two posts about our last two second-round choices that make me absolutely ecstatic about the future of this franchise. What steals!!!

Big WRs as a general rule need a little more time to adjust to the NFL game. But, I hope you are right.

RuthlessBurgher
06-16-2008, 12:24 PM
Sweed=Plax without the attitude, faster, better work ethic, and much better ability to snatch a ball over defenders. He will need time...like 3 years time to fully bloom. Be patient. Don't get me wrong...he will contribute this season. I just hope I don't hear the Libust comments prematurely.

Agreed, but I don't know if we'll need to wait three years to see him blossom. Granted the opportunities will be somewhat limited as long as Hines and Holmes are in the starting line-up, but I see Sweed pushing Ward into the slot in three-receiver sets by 2009.

Man, I love it. Two posts about our last two second-round choices that make me absolutely ecstatic about the future of this franchise. What steals!!!

Big WRs as a general rule need a little more time to adjust to the NFL game. But, I hope you are right.

That is true if you were counting on him to start, but if all we need from him as a rookie is in 4 WR sets facing other team's dime backs and in the red zone package where we can take advantage of his height, he should be "aight."

Shawn
06-16-2008, 12:24 PM
You know what got me excited?

Sweed & Washington will be matched up with the defenses 3rd & 4th CB in 4 WR sets! Who can't like that???

I definately like that thought but I'm not so sure it will work like that. I don't see Sweed playing the slot. Generally that would put the #3 CB or a LB on Ward. I'm sure they could have their best DB follow Ward...I'm not sure every team will give Ward that much respect personally.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
06-16-2008, 02:41 PM
You know what got me excited?

Sweed & Washington will be matched up with the defenses 3rd & 4th CB in 4 WR sets! Who can't like that???

I definately like that thought but I'm not so sure it will work like that. I don't see Sweed playing the slot. Generally that would put the #3 CB or a LB on Ward. I'm sure they could have their best DB follow Ward...I'm not sure every team will give Ward that much respect personally.

I agree Ward should be in the slot but I don't know if a team feels comfortable with a #3 or #4 on Ward. Ward isn't going to stretch the field but he will eat up a #3 or #4 and own the middle of the field. It will be interesting to see what happens. All being said, they could have 2 WRs that require S help and that hasn't been here in a while!

NKySteeler
06-16-2008, 02:46 PM
Agreed.... I don't see Ward in the slot either. At least not this year... But it is where he should inevitably end up... I really think we will have a lethal WR group. But let's wait and see how well Sweed picks up the routes first...

BURGH86STEEL
06-16-2008, 02:55 PM
Have to wonder if those expectations are for this or next season? I think the 09 season is when the real expectations kick in for Sweed.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
06-17-2008, 09:30 AM
Where do you guys see his stats? I see:
35 catches / 542 yards 4 TDs

RuthlessBurgher
06-17-2008, 10:05 AM
Where do you guys see his stats? I see:
35 catches / 542 yards 4 TDs

Back on the old board, I predicted that his rookie season in the NFL could match his sophomore year at Texas (36 catches for 545 yards 15.1 yards per catch average and 5 touchdowns), which is just about exactly in line with what you are saying. I just see one more 3 yard TD catch. :P

NKySteeler
06-17-2008, 10:11 AM
Where do I see his stats?.... Man, I think it is way too early to predict because it's a complete crapshoot till we see how he actually runs on the field within the plays that are called. Spring OTAs are one thing, and he has apparently looked good. But game action against other teams is another breed of animal.

... Quite a few players that were studs in college come into thier rookie season and have issues with fluidly running the routes effectively... Baker was good in college, but didn't master the routes well last season... Now, I AM NOT comparing the two because Sweed should by any reasoning be head and shoulders better... I'm just saying that there could be a learning curve to deal with, and his stats may be off a bit, that's all.